‘Kissing bug’ case in Delaware raises alarm for summer

(CNN) April 25, 2019 | Jacqueline Howard and Nadia Kounang

A bloodsucking “kissing bug” bit a Delaware girl on the face last summer while she was watching television. Now, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the incident the first confirmed identification of the bug in the state.

Triatoma sanguisuga, often called the “kissing bug” because it usually bites around the eyes and mouth, can transmit a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite causes Chagas disease, which can have serious cardiac and gastrointestinal complications.
When the girl was bitten, her family contacted the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture for help in identifying the creature. They were concerned about possible disease transmission from the insect, according to a CDC report Thursday.
“The girl who was bitten had no ill effects,” the report said, and although the bug’s presence was confirmed in Delaware at the time, there is no current evidence of Trypanosoma cruzi in the state.
Yet the case raises new concern about how many additional kissing bug bites might occur this summer across the nation — and what that means for public health.
Although the risk of Trypanosoma cruzi transmitted by kissing bugs is minimal, most of the kissing bugs in the United States are potential disease vectors, and parasite transmission could increase because of climate change, according to a paper in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2012.
Love_Bug.jpg
Chagas is endemic to Latin America, where a different species of the bug lives and can find its way into rural households.

“They might have thatched roof or poorly insulated walls, and the bugs set up shop and feed on animals and people at home,” Sarah Hamer, now an associate professor of epidemiology at Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical School, said in 2015.
Yet the bugs exist here in the United States, too.
Hamer said the kissing bug and Chagas have long been our neighbors: “The earliest reports are from the 1800s. The first parasites have been reported since the 1940s. We’re just diagnosing more disease. We’re paying attention to it now.”

 
The CDC estimates that there are 300,000 people living with Chagas in the United States, but most cases are contracted in other countries.

Only a few cases of Chagas disease from contact with the bugs have been documented in this country, and kissing bugs have been reported in 28 states, mostly in the southern half of the nation, according to the CDC. The bugs in the United States are most likely to be found outside.
To prevent infestation, the CDC recommends that you:
  • Seal cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs and doors
  • Remove wood, brush and rock piles near your house
  • Use screens on doors and windows and repair any holes or tears
  • Seal holes and cracks leading to the attic, to crawl spaces below the house and to the outside
  • Have pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keep your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs
If you suspect that you’ve found a kissing bug, the CDC says not to squash it. Instead, place it in a container and fill with rubbing alcohol or freeze in water, and take it to your local health department.

CDC ALERT – DEADLY ‘KISSING BUG’ HAS INVADED NEW JERSEY

July 2, 2019 | by Matt Ryan | 943thepoint

The CDC is alerting New Jersey residents about the Triatomine bug, or ‘Kissing Bug.’ The way it infects is straight out of a horror movie.

CDC

The name ‘Kissing Bug’ came from the fact that this bug is known for biting people on the face. Guess I’ll never be sleeping again. This bug can infect animals as well. Once bitten, humans and animals run the risk of contracting Chagas.

Symptoms of Chagas include fever, fatigue, swelling, and a rash. It can, however, be deadly leading to stroke or heart failure. Chagas has even caused heart failure in dogs.

Don’t let the name fool you, this is no joking matter. ‘The Kissing Bug’ looks like this.

Steve Lenz

According to the CDC, these bugs can live indoors, in cracks and holes of housing, or in a variety of outdoor settings including the following:

  • Beneath porches
  • Between rocky structures
  • Under cement
  • In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
  • In rodent nests or animal burrows
  • In outdoor dog houses or kennels
  • In chicken coops or houses

So how do you keep these suckers out of your space? The CDC recommends:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
  • Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
  • Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
  • If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
  • Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
  • Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs

Consult a licensed exterminator when it comes to this bug.

S. Kjos via CDC

If you think that you’ve found a Triatomine bug, DO NOT TOUCH OR SQUASH IT! It’s a common reaction to kill a bug when you see one, but it’s not ideal with ‘The Kissing Bug.’

Instead, the CDC says to place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for identification.

Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water).

If you think that you have been bitten, go to a healthcare provider immediately!

DEADLY ‘KISSING BUG’ HAS INVADED INDIANA

Deadly_Kissing_Bug.PNGThe Center for Disease Control and Protection is warning residents in the United States about a deadly bug that has made its way to 12 different states including Indiana. An insect know as a Triatominae, has been known to bite people in the face and infecting them with disease called Chagas. This disease has been dubbed as the deadly “Kissing Bug.”

These insects are not something to mess around with. Some of the symptoms of Chagas are fever, fatigue, swelling and a rash but it can be more serious causing strokes or even heart failure. Your pets aren’t even safe from the triatomine insects, as Chagas can actually give your pets heart disease.

I found what looked like a Triatominae in my house the other day. I can’t say for sure if it was, but it certainly looked like one. These bugs, when found inside your home, are typically located near the places your pets sleep, in areas of rodent infestation, and in/around beds and bedrooms (especially under or near mattresses or night stands.

The one I found was on my night stand. I didn’t take my chances, so I squished it…which apparently you aren’t supposed to do if you find one. According to the CDC:

If you find a bug you suspect is a triatomine, do not touch or squash it. Place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for identification.

Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water).

If you want to take precautions to keep the triatomine bug out of  your house, the CDC recommends that you contact a licensed pest control operator before you use any insecticides to kill triatomine bugs. It should also be noted that roach hotels or other “bait” formulations do not work against these bugs. Other precautions to prevent house infestation recommended by the CDC include:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
  • Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
  • Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
  • If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
  • Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
  • Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs

(Source: CDC- Triatomine Bugs)

‘Kissing bug’ sickens more in Los Angeles than Zika and few know they have it – deadly Chagas disease

This insect bites people near the lips or eyes, inserts bacteria, then about 20 years later, the victim suffers a heart attack. Olive View-UCLA Medical

March 28, 2016 |by Susan Abram | Daily News, Los Angeles

This insect bites people near the lips or eyes, inserts bacteria, then about 20 years later, the victim suffers a heart attack.  Olive View-UCLA Medical Center is working to help detect Chagas. The clinic is holding community screenings across the San Fernando Valley to find people who may be infected.

Some call it the kissing bug because it leaves a painless bite near a sleeping person’s lips.

But among health experts, including those from the federal government, the cone-headed Triatomine is no prince awakening a sleeping beauty. It’s an assassin, because it leaves behind a parasite in its love bite that can be deadly.

Photos of the dime-size insect hang inside Dr. Sheba Meymandi’s medical office as if on a wanted poster. The bug, she said, carries the Chagas disease, which can cause heart failure if left untreated.

An estimated 300,000 people across the United States may have Chagas disease, Meymandi said, and the only place in the nation where it’s treated is the clinic she oversees at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar. Started in 2007, the Chagas clinic has treated 200 people, but Meymandi and her team said they are ready to take on more patients.

That’s why she and her staff are working with primary physicians at the four hospitals and 19 health clinics overseen by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. In addition, Providence Health & Services will offer Chagas screenings at a dozen free health clinics on Sundays at churches across the San Fernando Valley for the rest of the year. An upcoming screening will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. April 3 at New Hope of the Nazarene, 15055 Oxnard St, Van Nuys, California.

“It’s very clear that we need to diagnose early and treat early before the onset of complications,” said Meymandi, a cardiologist. Ten percent of those with Chagas suffer from heart failure, one of the most expensive conditions to treat, costing $32 billion year nationwide, she said. That figure could rise to $70 billion by 2030.

Chagas disease was once considered exotic, but more is known about it now than about the Zika virus. Still, most people have no idea they have it or, once they do, lack information about where to receive treatment, Meymandi said.

The disease is most common in rural Mexico and Latin America, researchers have said, adding that it kills more people in South America than malaria.Meymandi said anyone who was born in Mexico or South America should have a blood test.

But U.S.-born residents also are infected. The insect is present in more than 20 states. At least 40 percent of raccoons tested in Griffith Park carried Chagas disease, Meymandi said.

“Most of the people we see and treat in the U.S. have had it for decades,” Meymandi said. “We have the bug here, we have the parasite here. You can definitely acquire Chagas in the United States.”

An infected insect, which hides in dwellings made from mud, adobe, straw or palm thatch, crawls out at night to feed on blood. It is called the kissing bug because it feeds on a sleeper’s face, then defecates on the wound, leaving a parasite behind.

Infection takes place when the parasite enters the body through mucous membranes or broken skin, caused when the sleeper scratches the wound, eyes or mouth, according to the federal Centers for Disease and Prevention. The parasite can lie dormant for years, then cause heart disease, and if not found and treated, death.

Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, body aches, headaches, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. But sometimes there are no symptoms until decades later.

Only two drugs exist to treat Chagas disease, and neither is approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration yet, though both can be provided through the CDC, Meymandi said.

“It’s very simple to treat,” Meymandi said. “But the process to go get the drugs is a challenge.”

Jose Duran, a Bellflower resident, said he learned he had Chagas disease after he tried to donate blood seven months ago. He said he would have never known he had Chagas disease otherwise. He had no symptoms.

“I went to donate blood for the first time, because I heard it was good for you to donate once in a while,” he said. Then he received a phone call.

It’s not uncommon for people to learn they have Chagas disease after donating blood, Meymandi and others said. In 2006, the Red Cross isolated 21 cases of Chagas in Southern California donors. In 2007, the figure more than doubled to 46. In 2008, there were 55 cases.

The National Red Cross would not provide additional figures.

“I got scared. I was like, wow, what is this?” the 40 year old Duran said of his reaction,when he learned what he had.

As a child, Duran lived on a ranch in Querétaro, a small state in north-central Mexico. His brother also tested positive for Chagas. He doesn’t remember being bitten, he said.

Duran was referred to the Chagas clinic and, after two months of treatment, learned Thursday he was in good health.

“Most people don’t know they have this,” he said. “If they get tested, they can get well.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

 

Deadly CHAGAS: An Emerging Infectious Disease Threat In U.S.

October 1, 2015 | by Judy Stone | Forbes

Chagas, a parasitic disease, is the latest invisible killer infection to be recognized as a growing threat here. The infection is transmitted by the Triatomine bug, known as the “kissing” bug. The bugs infect people through bites—often near the eyes or mouth—or when their infected feces are accidentally rubbed into eyes or mucous membranes. Some transmission occurs from mother to child during pregnancy. Occasionally, transmission is through contaminated food or drink.   Triatoma sanguisuga – CDC/James Gathany

Most people in the U.S. with Chagas disease probably became infected as children, living in Latin America. The infection often has few symptoms early on, but after several decades, strikes fatally, often with sudden death from heart disease. I suspect that, similar to Lyme disease, the magnitude of disease and deaths from the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease, is unrecognized in the U.S.

 2014 map of blood donors testing positive for CHAGAS disease. 

In Latin America, however, up to 12 million people might be infected, with a third going on to develop life-threatening heart complications. Chagas is a major cause of congestive heart failure and cardiac deaths, with an estimated 11,000 people dying annually, according to the WHO.

There are an estimated 300,167 people with Trypanosoma cruzi infection the U.S., including 40,000 pregnant women in North America. There are 30,000-45,000 cardiomyopathy cases and 63-315 congenital infections each year. Most of the people come from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or Argentina; Bolivia has the highest rate of Chagas in the world.

But in the U.S., we don’t often think of Chagas. Even as an infectious disease physician, I’ve never treated anyone with it, and it is not on my radar. So when a physician sees a patient who may have come to the U.S. as a child, and now has diabetes and hypertension, he or she is likely to attribute the heart disease to that and not look for infection. In fact, though, there are large pockets of undiagnosed disease. For example, a survey in Los Angeles of patients with a new diagnosis of cardiomyopathy who had lived in Latin America for at least a year, found 19% had Chagas disease, and they had a worse prognosis than those without the infection.

There are other reasons Chagas is overlooked. One is that Chagas is not a reportable disease except in four states, and Texas only began reporting in 2010. Most cases here have been detected by screening of blood donations, which has found about 1 in every 27,500 donors to be infected, according to CDC. However, a 2014 survey showed “one in every 6,500 blood donors tested positive for exposure to the parasite that causes Chagas disease.” A map of positive donations is here. While the triatome bugs are most common in the southern half of the U.S., they are actually quite widespread, as shown here.
Much bigger barriers to diagnosis are social and cultural. Many patients lack health insurance. Others are undocumented immigrants fearing deportation. Health literacy and language barriers are huge. There is a stigma associated with the diagnosis, as there is for many patients with TB, as Chagas is associated with poverty and poor living conditions. As Daisy Hernández noted in her excellent story in the Atlantic, “it’s hard, if not impossible, for moms with Chagas and no health insurance to see the doctors who would connect them to the CDC” and “patients don’t necessarily have savings in case they have adverse reactions to the medication and can’t work.”

There are pockets of Chagas in the states, including Los Angeles, the Washington metropolitan area, and the Texas border, where there are large immigrant communities from endemic areas. But I suspect that with climate change, we’ll see more Chagas in the southwest U.S., as more triatomine bugs are found further north. One recent study found more than 60% of the collected bugs carried the Trypanosome parasite, up from 40-50% in two similar studies. There are also now seven reports of Chagas infection that are clearly autochthonous, or locally acquired. University of Pennsylvania researcher Michael Levy has shown that bedbugs might be capable of transmitting Chagas, but no one has shown that they actually do. Entomologist and Wired author Gwen Pearson nicely explains why bedbugs are an unlikely vector and notes that you “far more likely to be injured by misusing pesticides to try to exterminate” them.

There’s more bad news. Treatment for Chagas is effective if given early in infection, although with significant side effects. There is no effective treatment for late stages of gastrointestinal or cardiac disease. A newly released study showed that benznidazole was no more effective than placebo in reducing cardiac complications, even though it reduced levels of parasites in the blood.

   Trypanasoma cruzi parasite in heart tissue – CDC

The two drugs available to treat Chagas, benznidazole and nifurtimox, are not yet FDA approved and are only available through the CDC under investigational protocols. Both carry significant side effects. Treatment of children with early Chagas is generally effective but, as with many drugs, treatment is hampered by lack of data on pediatric dosing and limited formulations. There is little research funding for new drug development, with less than US $1 million (0.04% of R&D funding dedicated to neglected diseases) focused on new drugs for Chagas disease, according to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi).

Where do we go from here? The most immediate and cost-effective proposals are to increase surveillance for disease and screening of high-risk populations. Since the most effective treatment is given early in the course of infection, screening of pregnant women and children is a priority, as is education for these women and Ob-Gyn physicians.
While there is no effective treatment for advanced disease, efforts are underway to develop a vaccine against Chagas. The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine just received a boost from a $2.6 million grant from the Carlos Slim Foundation for their initiative.

Chagas, like sickle cell, highlights disparities in access to screening and early treatment for serious illnesses disproportionately affecting the poor and people of color. While a moral and ethical issue, the choices made to gut public health programs for “cost saving” will also be unnecessarily costly in the end.

#SayNoToPesticides!

Messing with BedBugs’ Genes Could Carry Other Risks?

Bed Bugs Will Outlive All Of Us Unless We Screw With Their Genes

011413everywhere.jpg

photo:  Bluejake/Sara Bibi/Gothamist

Bed bugs, like cockroaches and new seasons of The Bachelor, seem impossible to eradicate from the face of the Earth, no matter how many exterminators our landlords call to spray that one time and then never, ever again. But Science says there’s some small hope for the extinction of a moviegoer’s biggest fear—screwing with their genome.

Scientists have managed to map the genome of the common bed bug, revealing some fun things about the little suckers. For instance, bed bugs are actually able to break down toxins, like the ones an exterminator might use, to render them harmless, allowing them to survive even when you try to whack them with bug killer. They’ve also been MUTATING, producing genes that make them resistant to certain insecticides and making it all the more difficult to eradicate an infestation. Another fun fact is that bugs’ genes vary from location to location—a Brooklyn bed bug will have a different genetic sequence from a Queens bed bug, though both are equally disgusting.

Bed bugs also inbreed, and their sex is quite violent. This violent sex has been well-documented, and for those of you who have not yet seen Isabella Rossellini’s bed bug porno, you’re welcome, and sorry:

The takeaway here is that bed bugs have been able to hold us hostage for a long time, but scientists might be able to murder them, provided they make a few genetic tweaks. First, though, let’s kill all the mosquitoes.

[A. Steiner:  So…..Messing with Genes Could Carry Other Risks – YES!]

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

DEADLY “KISSING BUG” HAS INFILTRATED FLORIDA…aka “Love Bug” and cousin to the BEDBUG – all transmit DEADLY CHAGAS disease

  
November 28, 2015 

The CDC reports the Kissing Bug has been discovered in the Southeastern U.S., including Florida. (Source: CBS4)

  
MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — New warnings have been issued by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the potentially deadly Chagas Disease from the kissing bug in Florida.

The bugs have invaded the southern United States, including Florida.

The infected inch-long Triatomine bugs carrying the parasite can pass it through bites. The bites are typically around the mouth and face, which is how they get their nickname “kissing bugs.”

Once in the body, the parasite can remain hidden for years, or even decades, eventually resulting in heart disease.

According to the CDC, it estimates about 8 million people are infected worldwide. Most of the infected are reportedly in Central and South America.

The CDC reports that infections have been reported in Arkansas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas.

Dogs Lives Matter – Could be Thousands Infected with Chagas

Studies show dogs highly at risk for deadly Chagas disease

Stott Friedman, Eva Parks and Dr. Seema Yasmin | November 17, 2015

An NBC 5 investigation found hundreds of dogs in Texas are infected with the deadly parasite that causes Chagas disease.

For months, NBC 5 Senior Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman teamed up with The Dallas Morning News’ Dr. Seema Yasmin to investigate a hidden threat known as The Kissing Bug, which has infected at least a dozen people in Texas.

In Texas the disease has infected family pets; prized hunting dogs and even military K-9’s that protect U.S. troops. Right now, no one seems to know exactly how many more dogs could be at risk.

Meet Kiska, a Japanese Spitz, a rare dog breed kept alive with a pacemaker.

“My husband called me and said Kiska fell over,” said Cora Fortin, who at the time lived in Plano.

Kiska kept collapsing. A vet in Plano said Kiska’s only hope was a pacemaker operation at Texas A&M in College Statio“She was passing out all the way down there, so we didn’t know if she would make it,” said Fortin.

Kiska survived but what caused her heart to fail was a bigger surprise. It was Chagas disease, caused by a rare parasite transmitted by kissing bugs.

Chagas is usually found in tropical climates of Mexico, South and Central America. But cases of locally transmitted Chagas disease have not been documented in Texas until more recently.

Fortin wants people to know dogs can get this disease in Collin County. But it’s not just there.

All over the state there are cases of dogs getting sick with Chagas, many of them showing up for treatment at the Texas A&M Veterinary School.

“I diagnosed a little Yorkie that lived in Downtown Dallas not too long ago, so yes, it’s everywhere,” said Dr. Ashley Saunders, a veterinary cardiologist with Texas A&M.

In some cases the dogs are so sick there’s no saving them.

“I think we shock a lot of people and I think it’s one of the hardest things for me is we have some clients who come in and they have no idea the disease even exists,” said Saunders.

Researchers at Texas A&M tested dogs at animal shelters statewide and found many shelter dogs have Chagas.

“The study that just wrapped up, about 10 percent of dogs across the state were infected,” said Sarah Hamer, Texas A&M researcher.

Officially the Texas Department of State Health Services reports 351 dogs with Chagas since the state began tracking it two years ago.

Tom Sidwa, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said there’s no doubt Chagas will grow and kill more dogs in the state.

However, it’s hard to estimate the total number of dogs infected because many dogs are never tested.

“So many of the dogs seen are young dogs that are just really hit hard by the disease … and sometimes, sudden death,” said Sidwa.

It’s already killed U.S. Military working dogs in Texas.

At Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, about 70 military working dogs have been infected in the last nine years.

Bomb, drug and patrol dogs train at Lackland to serve with U.S. troops all over the world.

“When one of these dogs become sick, and for any reason can’t do its job that’s a major loss because that whole team is taken out they’re not able to perform their mission,” Col. Cheryl Sofaly, Director of the DOD Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base.

Some dogs with Chagas are still working, but ones that develop more serious symptoms are retired from service.

“If they’ve got heart disease that makes it very hard for them to do that job effectively,” said Sofaly.

Losing a military dog is expensive. It costs about $20,000 to train each one.

When Chagas first surfaced here in 2006, military veterinarians worked to track down the source.

A search of the base turned up bugs in and around kennels where the dogs sleep.

Dogs that sleep outside and hunting dogs are more likely to be infected. The bugs like wooded areas and bite at night. Because dogs sometimes eat infected bugs it may be even easier for them to become infected than people.

That’s how the Fortin’s suspect Kiska got sick.

“One day she brought this strange looking insect into the house,” said Fortin.

Before they could snatch it away, she ate it.

Recently, Kiska has developed more symptoms including an enlarged heart.

“We just really don’t know what’s going to happen next,” said Fortin.

There’s no cure, so the Fortin’s appreciate every day.

“She’s totally a member of the family and we will be devastated when the day comes we lose her,” said Fortin.

At Lackland, the military has been able to reduce the number of new cases of Chagas by putting up screens around the kennels and by treating the areas with pesticides, but they are still seeing about 4-5 new cases a year in dogs.

To protect your pets, veterinarians suggest keeping them indoors late at night and don’t let them sleep outside.

Keep piles of wood and brush away from your home and any area where small animals might nest will attract the bugs.

If your dog coughs, has shortness of breath and has fainting spells, it’s worth asking your vet about Chagas.

[Reporting from behind.  A. Steiner.]

Where have they been? Deadly ‘kissing bug’ spreads to other states besides Texas

Fox_Boston   November 23, 2015 | Boston, MA

A deadly insect known as the “kissing bug” has recently been reported in Georgia and possibly Pennsylvania, as well as Texas.

Texas officials said recently at least 12 people in their state have been infected with a parasite connected to the insect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the insects — called triatomine bugs — may carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which — if left untreated — can cause sudden death. Kissing bugs get their nickname because they favor biting human faces and lips at night.

It was not clear exactly where in Georgia the insect was reported, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In Pittsburgh, after an on-air report about the bug, viewers sent in photos to WPXI  and a curator at the Pittsburgh Zoo said the photos did appear to show “kissing bugs.” However, the station reported that no cases of Chagas disease had been confirmed in Pennsylvania.

Texas

How to protect against the ‘kissing bug’

The CDC says that the bugs are typically found anywhere from under porches or cement, in animal burrows, chicken coops or even outdoor dog houses or kennels.

To keep the insects away from your home, the CDC says to use the following precautions:

  • Seal cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
  • Remove wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
  • Use screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
  • If possible, make sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
  • Seal holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
  • Have pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keep your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs

If you think you’ve found a triatomine bug, the CDC urges not to touch or squash the bug, but place a container on top of it, slide the bug inside and fill it with rubbing alcohol.

If you do not have rubbing alcohol available, the CDC says to freeze the bug in the container before you take it to your local extension service or university laboratory.

Report: Deadly ‘kissing bug’ in North Carolina

Charlotte, NC | November 23, 2015

chagas-bug

A deadly insect know as the “kissing bug” has made it’s way to North Carolina, according to the CDC.

The bug has been in headlines lately for popping up around the south, especially in Texas.

It carries a parasite that causes ‘Chagas’ disease.

The CDC says now is a good time to double check around the house for cracks and holes, because they tend to hide under beds and mattresses.

If you find the bug the CDC says do not touch it.

Put a container on top of it and fill it with rubbing alcohol, or freeze it.